Oh, sweet nostalgia. You taste like Mountain Dew Baja Blast, sound like Rage Against the Machine and feel like a perfect grind into manual off a rail.
Tony Hawk is back, my friends. And at least for the amount of time that you’re holding the controller, all is right in the world.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is almost here, set to launch of Sept. 4. I was fortunate enough to take the Warehouse Demo for a stroll.
Now it’s just one level. You’re restricted to playing with one skater. And it’s whittled down to a two-minute skate through for the demo. But the level is familiar, as is the skater. You enter the Warehouse as Mr. 900 himself, Tony Hawk.
And the two minutes, I have to say, it’s been one of the more enjoyable experiences of the year.
Playing the demo was a lot like a socially distanced chat with a close friend. It’s therapeutic even if you are left wanting more. It also delivers a wave of familiarity and nostalgia that isn’t often available these days.
For two straight minutes at a time, I’m transported back to the turn of the century, when bro comedies ruled the cinema, cell phones stayed in our pockets and Tony Hawk Pro Skater quickly took over the video-game world.
Playing a demo is a lot like watching a movie trailer. You get a gut sense of how the rest of the movie is going to play out once it premieres. Well, my gut says this is going to be a beloved title.
Simply and only for the reason that the feel was there. Pulling off combos was challenging but felt natural and intuitive in the same way as the original. And it was that very reason that we couldn’t ever put down the controller.
It’s what you remember, at least from the titles you remember fondly. There is a smoothness to switching between manuals, grinds and back again. Putting together a combo is challenging to be sure, but it makes enough sense that it becomes as addicting as an open bag of Doritos.
The trailer had me hyped that we would get a return to glory for the franchise. Actually playing the game has me thinking that is indeed possible with this remastered version of two classics.
What can I say, the series doesn’t crack. There are some cute little additions I noticed even in this brief demo.
Wiping out on the board means getting a Matrix-comic book style refresh of the skater before you are quickly back on the board. Gone are the days of pressing A incessantly as frustration builds because you just lost a six-digit combo.
The Warehouse, certainly a drab and monotone location to skate through, has a new vitality to it. And it has me giddy to see what other levels look like in the full version.
It wasn’t extensive for the demo, but it sounds like classic Hawk: eclectic, energetic, lively. Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio” and Goldfinger’s “Superman” will have you smiling as if you were diving into a pile of Dunkaroos and washing it all down with Surge.
As hat tips go, you’ll find a pretty damn cool one here. There is one noticeable change in the trick department. Hawk decided to change the mute grab to the Weddle grab.
Hawk’s Instagram explained further.
“For nearly 40 years, we’ve shamelessly referred to this trick as the ‘mute’ air/grab. Here is the backstory: around 1981, a deaf skater and Colton skatepark local named Chris Weddle was a prominent amateur on the competition circuit,” Hawk explained on Instagram. “The ‘Indy’ air had just been created & named so somebody proposed that grabbing with the front hand should be known as the ‘Tracker’ air. Others countered that Chris was the first to do, so it should be named after him. They referred to him as the ‘quiet, mute guy.’ So it became known as the mute air, and we all went along with it in our naive youth.
Speaking with Weddle, the trick’s originator explained that he could indeed see changing the name, especially as he was, in his word, deaf not mute.
World, say hello to the Weddle grab.
Obviously, you can’t say a lot about an album from one track. But this is an absolute banger and has my hope up for what we will get on Sept. 4
The Warehouse demo will be available with a pre-order of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 starting Aug. 14.